Today it’s time for a unique sort of post. This is my first collaboration on this blog, and I’m super thrilled. Today I’m collaborating with the beautiful Paige Kauffman from http://hisbiblicalbeauty.blogspot.com/. I met Paige on my missions trip to Ecuador this summer. Please be sure to go visit her blog after this and also be keeping an eye out for our collaboration on her blog which will hopefully be posted sometime in the near future. Although Paige doesn’t live in the same state as me, I thought it would be awesome to take our online conversation and write as if we were actually having a coffee date. I hope you enjoy this narrative style blog post about the importance of encouraging and cheering others on.
“Hey girlie! How are you?” Paige raced towards me and squeezed me tightly in a hug. “I’m doing wonderful, really busy. Which I like as you know. What about you?” I responded as we headed into the local Starbucks. “Same here. Life’s been pretty crazy but good.” Paige said as she gave a little laugh. We both ordered venti drinks at the counter. We both had gotten free drinks from Starbucks Rewards so we figured, it’s free so why not go all out. I got a Java Chip Frappe, and Paige got a Carmel Ribbon Crunch Frappe. We went and found a secluded table upstairs so we could chat in our own world, undisturbed. “So what’s going on? You seemed like you really wanted to talk to me about something? Sarah, do you have a boyfriend or is it something more serious? Is God showing something to you?” Paige asked with her typical joyful and energetic spirit. “No, I don’t have a boyfriend…” I said with a chuckle, “But God has placed something on my heart, and I really need a girlfriend to rant to and discuss it with. I know that you are perfect for deep conversations and you have plenty of wisdom to offer. Plus I love spending time talking with you and drinking coffee.” I replied as I took a quick drink of my frappe. “So, what’s on your mind?” Paige said as she placed her elbows up on the table and leaned forward. She was ready for a serious conversation.
“Well I’ve been thinking about that Bible verse 1 Thessalonians 5:11, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” I see tons of girls tearing each other down through discouraging words and even behind their backs through gossiping. It is extremely distressing to me and I wish more girls would understand the importance of being an encouragement to others. I know we’ve all dealt with people trying to take us down.”
Paige grew quiet in thought for a minute then said, “As you know, my seventh and eighth grade year was a really tough time for me. I was made fun of and put down a lot in middle school because I was more into the arts than sports and other things the popular kids liked. I felt like I had no friends and was really alone, even though on the outside I appeared like the happiest girl in the world. I wasn’t happy because no one liked me when I was truly being myself, and nobody liked me when I was trying to fake it and fit in either. I went through depression and attempted suicide a few times.”
I reached across the table and squeezed Paige’s hand, “I’m really proud to know you, Hon. God has used you in mighty ways and He has made you so strong. So many times people won’t accept someone simply because they don’t fit into the norm. I’ve always been different, and I used to hide it to fit in, but this past year or so God has given me an abundance of confidence in myself. This has also carried into me branching and reaching out towards people I don’t normally talk to. I’m now open to try and develop friendships with people. I never want people to feel alone because they’re different. It’s the worst feeling.”
“Aw thanks Sarah! I completely agree. God created all of us unique, and we all have our own purposes in life. Nobody should be rejected because God made that person different.” Paige said as she leaned back into her seat and took a sip of her coffee.
“Also, like I mentioned before, something I absolutely hate is gossiping. Christian girls even fall into that trap. For example maybe a girl gets hurt by someone or is struggling with something, so they go and share it with a friend and then that friend shares it with a friend. Gossiping travels and each time the message gets changed by a person’s own interpretation and facts get lost. In the end it’s a hurtful mess for the person getting talked about. I know that one time somebody gossiped about me, and then it reached my friend’s ears who let me know that I was getting talked about. It certainly didn’t feel good when it happened. It’s sad that you have to be so careful about what you say nowadays.” I said with a deep sigh.
“The gossiping situation is all too familiar to me, especially living in a small town. It can be so easy to do or egg on because you try to justify it by saying you’re “discussing” something. It’s hardest for me not to gossip when I have a reason to be upset with the person.” Paige said thoughtfully.
“For sure, it’s truly a struggle, especially when somebody has hurt your feelings. I would definitely say that in the past I’ve been caught up in gossiping without knowing it. Many Christians with thoughtful intentions can share too much and then start talking about a person when sharing a prayer request. Now I’m cautious in making sure I never say negative words about other people. If I need to talk to someone I am careful to share only some details. For instance I might talk about the situation and what the person has done but not their name. I define gossip as when you say something that could change someone’s view on that person. Also, if people I know share gossip with me or say it while I’m around, I’ll pop in to share a positive word about the person that they’re complaining about. Needless to say people don’t usually talk to me about gossip anywhere.” I said with a chuckle.
“Sadly, there have been times when I’ve gone along with it and times where I haven’t. In those situations I typically change the subject rather than having to confront the person straight-on and upset them.” Paige added.
“For sure! So I’ve been thinking about ways this problem could be solved and tips that could be shared with other girls so they can become encouragers to cheer people along. Do you have any thoughts?” I responded with a contemplative tone.
“I think the more girls open up and understand each other, the more sensitive they’re going to be. We need to realize everyone is fighting their own battle and struggling in different ways. It can also be really easy to become hypocrites as Christian women, and we need to recognize this. It isn’t a competition about how pretty or how skinny or how athletic or how smart you are. If our God is for us, who can be against us? We’re all on the same team here, Jesus’ team, and that means we’ve already won. There’s no need to fight over petty things that will fade away in a matter of days or months or years.” Paige replied as she finished up her coffee.
“Amen sister! We all have our own difficulties in life and we were created to love others as we love ourselves. We are called to be filled with understanding towards others and we are called to cheer on people around us. Instead of causing drama like so many girls do. We should be uniting together as sisters in Christ! When somebody says how my words have impacted them, it really makes me feel mushy and happy inside. It would be quite encouraging to hear this said to me, Job 4:4, “Your words have supported those who stumbled;
you have strengthened faltering knees.” I said enthusiastically.
“It feels so good when people cheer me on. I am so grateful in particular for my mentor Staci. It feels really nice when she always texts me to check in with how my week is going. Also, I think complimenting each other (genuinely!!) means so much. If you like that girl’s shirt, tell her! You think her hair is pretty? Tell her! It makes a girl’s day when we are kind to one another, I know it makes mine.” Paige spoke with a radiant smile on her face.
“Indeed! It truly does make my day when people compliment me no matter what it’s on. I am surrounded by amazing mentors and friends who add so much joy to my life. When my friends text me to see how my life’s going or want to actually spend time with me, it makes me realize how blessed I am. I have mentors and am a mentor to some younger girls, and mentoring is an incredible thing for the one mentored and the one mentoring. I know that in general having a strong circle of women who brighten my day and inspire me to grow in my faith has helped develop me into a better person.” I said with a smile.
“I think it’s super important to invest yourself in relationships with Christian women of all ages. Find a mentor who is 10-15 years older and has wisdom but is still someone you can relate to and look up to. Keep the friends in your closest circle girls who are seeking God as actively and passionately as you are. And if you can, find a younger girl to mentor. It swells your soul with joy when you see her blossom and grow and fall in love with Jesus and is really rewarding. It also can help you better yourself because you are looked at as a role model figure in her life and you want to be the best you can be for her.” Paige beamed.
I took a peak at my phone and realized time had gotten away from me. I’d been so enveloped in our lovely conversation. I slowly got up out of my seat taking a final sip of the whipped cream nestled on the bottom of my cup. Then I gave Paige a big bear hug saying, “Thank you so much for meeting with me girlie. This was amazing, and we must get together again soon, okay?” “Sounds great dear. I’ll see you soon, and I hope you have a delightful week.” Paige grinned as she waved goodbye.
Thank you all for reading and please remember to encourage and love those who are around you. You have no idea what their battles are. Girls, unite and stop the gossiping; end the drama. Show Christ to others through the way that you treat people. Also, please once again go check out Paige’s lovely blog http://hisbiblicalbeauty.blogspot.com/.
In Christ’s Love,